Turkey has been recycling 1.1 million tons of scrap plastic annually, saving yearly $1 billion worth of plastic raw material imports, according to the statistics of the Turkey’s Recyclers Association (GEKADER), highlighting the increasing sensitivity about recycling in Turkey in recent years which has come to the fore again with the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement.
With Turkey’s Zero Waste project which started in 2010, the recycling ratio has increased from 13% to 22.4%.
Turkey aims to reach its zero-emission target by 2053 and recycling plastic waste is the way forward.
The plastic waste sector generates $1 billion annually by employing around 350,000 personnel in 1,300 firms.
Fatih Eren, the head of the association, said recycled plastic material is used in many sectors, including major appliances, packaging, agriculture, electronics, textile and construction.
He said the recycling sector is hard-pressed in the face of rising demands.
“Currently, the price of recycled PET is the same as its raw material. Within one or two years, recycled PET prices will exceed the price of its raw material due to high demand and obligations,” he told Anadolu Agency (AA).
He went on to say that plastic can be recycled countless times, adding that the sector has great potential.
Eren noted that Turkey does not import trash but plastic waste, which is the raw material for the recycling sector.
The United States and China also import plastic waste, he added.
Turkey sells recycled plastic for $1,000 per ton, he said, making considerable profit as the price of plastic waste is $400 per ton while the price of raw material is around $2,000 per ton.
Quoting figures, he said, plastic waste imports in the country totaled $127.7 million in 2020, while recycled plastic product exports amounted to $1.21 billion.